February 18, 2019

Ca Phe Roasters

During episode 7 of the Small Business Saturday Philadelphia podcast, we sat down with Thu Pham, founder of Ca Phe Roasters. Ca Phe Roasters is Philadelphia’s first and only Vietnamese Coffee Roaster.


Thu has an incredibly unique story. She was born in the Philippines and migrated to California with her family. She moved to Philadelphia around the age of 4. In college, Thu studied psychology and minored in marketing. She wanted to study market research, and even applied for her MBA, but she knew that her heart wasn’t in it. Thu was unsure of what she wanted to do with her future, but knew that she wanted to help others. She found her way to local nonprofit, 12+, and applied to their fellowship opening.

Ca Phe Roasters - Beans

Thu spent 2 years at 12+. She was first a fellow and then transitioned into a Site Coordinator rule. During her time at 12+, Thu worked to build a personal connection with every student in the program. She helped students stay on track for graduation and create an individualized post-grad plan. She made sure to let the students know that she was invested in each of them and their dreams.

How did Ca Phe Roasters begin?

Ca Phe had a very interesting start in the coffee roasting business. In October 2017, Thu partnered with Raymond John, founder of 12+. They chose to participate in the “Kensington Avenue Storefront Challenge.” This challenge was started by Shift Capital, a Philadelphia-based real estate firm. This challenge intended to revitalize the Kensington neighborhood by bringing in new small businesses into the area. The pitches were done “Shark Tank” style and the winners were announced in December of 2017. The winners of this challenge received 1 year of free rent at a storefront in Kensington plus whatever other assistance they needed to get the business up and running.

Ca Phe Roasters - Brew

Now, Thu is Head Roaster at Ca Phe Roasters. Vietnamese Coffee is truly a different coffee experience – there is a specific method and tradition that goes along with Vietnamese coffee roasting. Vietnamese Coffee is brewed slowly – around 4 or 5 minutes – and then poured over sweet, condensed milk. Ca Phe Roasters imports all of the beans roasted at the cafe specifically from Vietnam and other Southeast and East Asian regions. Ca Phe Roasters uses Robusta beans for all of their roasts.

Ca Phe Roasters - Award
Not only is Ca Phe Roasters producing an extremely unique product, they also have an important social mission tied to their business.

Ca Phe Roasters aims to give back to the community through non-profit initiatives. Ca Phe is not only donating a portion of their profits back to the 12+ program, but they are creating a student program at the Roastery. This student program will make jobs for students in the 12+ programs within the coffee roasting business ranging from roasting coffee, learning how to properly taste coffee, and handling the business’ social media accounts.

Listen to Thu and Ca Phe Roasters’ full story on episode 7 of the Small Business Saturday Philadelphia Podcast. You can follow Ca Phe Roasters’ journey on Facebook and Instagram. Their website is coming soon with more information and locations to find their beans.

Ca Phe Roasters - Coffee

Make sure you are following us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on the Small Business Saturday Project. Subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can find all of our past and future SBS episodes. You can listen to our podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Anchor.fm, Google Podcasts, and RadioPublic.

For more information about Thu and Ca Phe Roasters, you reach her at the information below!

The Roastery – Macon Studios in Kensington

Phone –  215-870-6369

Email – Thu@CaPheRoasters.com

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